Canon lens developmentCanon will this week showcase a prototype of its first zoom lens to include a built-in focal length extender.

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The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is being developed following feedback from photojournalists, says Canon.

Delivering an increased focal length of ?280-560mm?, it should also be suitable for sports and wildlife photographers, however.

A mock-up version of the newcomer will go on show at the CP+ imaging show which opens in Yokohama, Japan on 9 February.

The advantage of having an extender ?built-in? is that engineers can specifically tailor it to the lens, to maximise image quality, a Canon spokesman told Amateur Photographer.

The extender will have a mechanical build, so photographers will be able to activate it using an on/off switch.

The spokesman told us that Canon hopes to launch the lens by the end of the year.

? Meanwhile, Canon has today announced further details of its revamped 500mm and 600mm super-telephoto lenses, which are said to be significantly lighter than the previous versions.

This has been made possible by using titanium components in the magnesium alloy build of the lens, according to Canon.

The redesigned EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM are due to arrive in mid-2011.

Canon claims that the 600mm is 27% lighter than its predecessor, while the 500mm weighs 17% less.

Claimed features include an improved Image Stabilizer [IS] system, plus the use of Super Spectra Coatings and a SubWavelength Structure Coating to help reduce flare and ghosting.

The 500mm will cost £8,999, while the 600mm will set photographers back £11,299.